The secret of success?

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Most answers to the secret of success are dissatisfying.

We want hope. When someone’s balloon rises, we want to believe we can rise too. When others earn promotions, make money, or garner respect – and we don’t – we search for the secret of success.

We don’t usually say, “Tell me how to be like you.”

We ask…

  1. What is your advice for people starting out?
  2. How can I get ahead in my organization?
  3. What can I do to build my business?

3 dissatisfying answers to the secret of success:

#1. Good fortune:

“I’ve been fortunate,” means the secret of success is like rolling dice.

Good fortune is part of success. Jay Elliot met Steve Jobs – by chance – on the day his new job disintegrated. 

Raise your hand if good fortune has been part of your journey. Someone cared for you. You had opportunities because of family. You were at the right place at the right time. A wise advisor said something that shifted your trajectory. For Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell’s Soup, it was Neil MacKenna.

Personal energy is more important than skill, talent, or resources. Image of a lightbulb burning out.

#2. Talent:

You’re born with talent. You can’t control it. Yes, you develop it, but you can’t order it at the talent store.

Good fortune and talent are disappointing secrets to success.

#3. Hard work:

Most people who ask about success are in two categories. One group wants easy success and the other group is working hard but not rising.

Many people work hard all their lives and don’t rise.

Gary Vaynerchuk said, “Hard work is the only real “secret to success” out there – but a lot of people these days are demonising it.” 

Hard work – It’s a given! But what to do when hard work doesn’t work?

Beyond the big three (Good fortune, talent, and hard work), what is the secret of success from your point of view?


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